Canary Wharf’s rise to prominence has been rapid as the changes to its ever-expanding skyline. Once a derelict industrial estate in West India Quay on the Isle of Dogs, the site is home to London’s second biggest financial district and its first cluster of mega-tall structures.
Such is the scale of development achieved in a mere 30 years, Canary Wharf has come to represent how technology is driving regeneration across the capital’s most dilapidated areas, usually on a massive scale. Today, Canary Wharf has a working population of 120,000, but this is a figure set to double by the late 2020s.
The Wharf isn’t just an isolated commercial outpost its workers travel in to, however; the Docklands’ surrounding residential developments have become some of the most sought-after in the capital. The majority who do opt to commute in – and certainly make the most of it when they’re there – come from all over London, the Home Counties and even Europe, thanks to the wealth of transport options including numerous rail links and City Airport.
The world’s banking bigwigs including HSBC and Barclay’s have global headquarters in Canary Wharf, the former occupying the 42-story 8 Canada Square since 2002, which is also known as the HSBC tower. Several major media organisations are also based within the district, including Thomson Reuters.
The average annual salary of a worker in Canary Wharf is £100,000
In the area…
Much like its sister financial district, The City of London, business culture very much defines the way people work and play in Canary Wharf. Needless to say, there seems to be an endless run of bars and restaurants within the estate, which is split up by the quays two docks. These range from high-class dining experiences to indie street food pop-ups.
On the fine end of the spectrum is Plateau on the fourth floor of Canada Place, while Giant Robot on top of Crossrail Place is a kind of foodie Mecca akin to Shoreditch’s Box Park or Dinerama. Inside, it’s part street-food market, part night club and part urban fete, with four different food vendors and two separate bars serving till 11pm.
Helping Canary Wharf shake its reputation for being a bit soulless (a little unfair we’d say) are places like Boisedale, a Scottish restaurant and live music venue on Cabot Place, which is great for grabbing a steak, cocktail and round of jazz any night of the week. Keeping up with the lively theme is The Gun and The Merchant, both of which have waterside terraces that come alive in the summer months.
For those looking to slow the pace a bit, walking down to Mudchute Park and Farm off Millwall Docks is a good way to escape the pressures of city life. The park has an urban farm open to the public and 32 acres of green space that is home to a local nature reserve. And for those who prefer to find their inner zen on a treadmill, both Third Space and Reebok Sports Club are state-of-the-art gyms between the North and South Docks.
Mudchute Park – you’re closer than you think to nature
Find your flow with waterfront views
State-of-the-art fitness facilities at Third Space
Maritime-themed dining at The Merchant
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Canary Wharf station
Want to see what the wider neighbourhood has to offer? Why not read our guides for the nearby areas.
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